On Tuesday, numerous U.S. and South Korean officials responded to North Korea’s public plans to restart a nuclear reactor it shut down in 2007. Whereas most of Kim Jong Un’s ramblings up to this point had been met with a collective yawn, Pyongyang's most recent threat obviously struck a chord.
"The bottom line is simply that what Kim Jong Un is choosing to do is provocative. It is dangerous, reckless. The United States will not accept the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) as a nuclear state," Kerry said during a joint briefing with South Korea Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
"And I reiterate again the United States will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and defend our allies, Korea and Japan. We are fully prepared and capable of doing so, and I think the DPRK understands that."
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel echoed those sentiments in a call to Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan. China, of course, has enabled North Korea for years, but even they appear to be growing wary of Kim’s incessant provocations.
"The secretary emphasized the growing threat to the U.S. and our allies posed by North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and expressed to General Chang the importance of sustained U.S.-China dialogue and cooperation on these issues," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement describing the phone call to Fox News.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean, offered this statement on recent developments:
"The current crisis has already gone too far," he said in a statement from Andorra. "Nuclear threats are not a game. Aggressive rhetoric and military posturing only result in counteractions, and fuel fear and instability.
"Things must begin to calm down, as this situation, made worse by the lack of communication, could lead down a path that nobody should want to follow."